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Laramie Movie Scope:
Toy Story 2

The toys strike back

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 28, 1999 -- "Toy Story 2" is one of those films you go to see as a reviewer that you might not ordinarily go to as an ordinary film buff. In this case, I'm glad I went. This is a really good film.

"Toy Story 2" has most of the same characters as in the original film, with the same people doing the voices, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear and Tom Hanks as the voice of Woody. In this episode, we find out that Woody is a valuable collectible doll. An evil toy dealer, Al (voice by Wayne Knight) steals Woody with the idea of selling him to a museum in Japan.

Woody finds out he's not alone in the sale. There's an entire set of toys, including Jessie the Cowgirl (voice by Joan Cusack) and Stinky Pete, the Prospector (voice by Kelsey grammar). He also finds out the reason he is valuable is because of a 1950's-type TV show, much like Howdy Doody, of which he was the star. After he is captured, the Prospector and Jessie convince Woody to stay with them and complete the collection. Jessie explains in a very good musical number (original music by Randy Newman) that children tire of toys and eventually throw them away. In a museum, the Prospector explains, they will be cared for and admired forever.

About the time Woody is convinced of their arguments, the other toys mount a rescue effort, led by Buzz Lightyear. The rescue is ingeniously staged, as the toys manage to cross a road in broad daylight without being seen, among other small and big-scale adventures. As one would expect, computer animation has come a long way in the four years since the last "Toy Story" film and it looks great, better than the original. What I did not expect was that the story, and the characterizations are also better than the original.

One of the characters that really comes across this time as more three-dimensional is Mr. Potato Head (voice by Don Rickles, he must have gotten kidded about that). He comes across as a cynical character, but feisty. Rex the dinosaur also has a good role as a worry-prone, video game addict (voice by Wallace Shawn). There's actually good character development in this movie compared to many live action films. This is a very entertaining film for the whole family. It rates an A.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1999 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]